Rituals of Remembrance: Exploring the Art of Mourning
a 30 min documentary by
Maggie Simpson Adams & Elizabeth Sher

Reviewed by Michael Fox in the East Bay Monthly Oct. 2017 p 28

Streaming & DVDs available

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When Maggie Simpson Adams lost her uncle there was no healing ritual or closure. A year later her aunt was murdered in Mexico where she had lived for more than 2 decades. There the villagers created an altar and chanting circle in a ritual celebration of her life. 

The disparate experiences led to the film Rituals of Remembrance: Exploring the Art of Mourning as Maggie explores ways to integrate death and life in a more healing and satisfying way. Expanding her (and our) understanding of historical and cultural mourning practices, and celebrating death through ritual and art, Rituals of Remembrance: Exploring the Art of Mourning looks at several options for more successfully experiencing this most important passage in our lives. 

  1. The elaborate culture of Mourning and Mourning Art which flourished during the Victorian Era focusing on their objects, jewelry and sculpture, dress codes and practices.
  2. The Mexican celebration of Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, with it’s ritual vigils, foods, flowers, artistic altars and communal graveside gatherings   
  3. DIY rituals in our own country created by individuals, families and artists working with this theme in their practice. 

These DIY practices exist without the community involvement and support important to the Victorians and Mexicans. Both cultures have a strong focus on “making”, using the hands and creativity as part of the healing process. Rituals of Remembrance: Exploring the Art of Mourning presents images and ideas as a road map to support those in grief and to cope with our own mortality.